Over the course of the last few weeks as we’ve made our way through Oak’s recovery, as I’ve shared news about my book, and with the general juggle of this space, motherhood and the holidays, I’ve been called a hero more than I could have ever imagined. And it’s weird, because, nothing I do in motherhood or work seems heroic or grand. Not now, not at all, really. Yet, my dear friends would beg to differ. And as I settle into the uncomfortable nature of what that may mean, I have had no choice but to reflect on this past year with work, motherhood, and general self expectations…
Over the course of the year, I made one of my childhood dreams come true: I finished my proposal and signed a book deal after a fury of meetings and calls. Looking back, it didn’t feel grand, but now realizing the load of that, this space, and mothering River and Oak, it was an enormous load. And still, I fail to see the grandiosity of what life required of me at that time and even now.
Why is it that mothers do that? Why is it that I do that? Is that something you do?
In my weekly therapy sessions, the doctor likes to bring me back down, “Write a list, sit with it.” she says. The list, well the list is to check back in with everything I am to everyone else. And often, the list serves as a reminder to who I am not to myself: Light. Soft. Forgiving.
This year, yes, I guess I did a lot. I guess to some, as I held on to pulling breaths as Oak traveled through a four-hour surgery and as I fail to pull sentences together now as he recovers (I am SO tired!), I displayed some heroic nature as I whaled on the inside. But not to myself. I wasn’t the hero I needed. I cared for myself, but I wasn’t nearly who I should have been to myself.
My book is not only a dream for me, it in many ways, secures a more suitable and sustainable future for my children. Something, any woman, let alone a young black woman from Brooklyn, will hold onto with slipping breaths. That person that wrote that thing and talked her butt off and bounced into meetings, she isn’t a hero, she’s doing the only thing she knows how to do.
As we close out this year, I don’t know guys, I want to work more towards what I don’t know how to do for myself. You know, the parts that remain absent from my list in therapy…
Light. Soft. Self-forgiving.